Enugu - Prices of fresh pepper and other vegetables have soared in markets in Enugu State by more than 100 per cent as the consumers complain of poor cash flow.
Some of the dealers who spoke in Enugu on Thursday attributed the increase to the poor rainfall and the ongoing Ramadan fast by Muslims.
At Akwata Market, Felicia Olisa, a pepper seller, said she could only buy in buckets and sell to her customers rather than in baskets due to the high cost.
“For the past one week, I have been buying the pepper I sell to my customers in buckets because the price of a basket of it is outrageous.
“A basket now sells for N14,000 now as against N8,500 before the Ramadan,” she said.
An okro seller at Ogbete Main Market, Ngozi Izuakor, said that the product had been scarce, making it difficult for the sellers to purchase large quantities.
“I could not buy and sell Okro on Tuesday due its scarcity and increase in price,’’ Izuakor said.
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She said that a basket of okro now sold at N6,000 as against N2,500 before the Ramadan fast.
Izuakor said that the fasting affected the prices of many foodstuffs, especially those produced in the northern parts of the country.
A tomato dealer, Sani Alhassan, said a basket of tomato had increased to N26, 000 as against between N18,000 and N20,000 sold two weeks ago.
Some consumers told NAN that it was difficult to buy a small quantity of foodstuff like fresh pepper, tomatoes or okro at such a high price.
A house wife, Udoka Nwachukwu, complained of lack of money to buy foodstuffs due to the economic situation in the country.
Nwachukwu noted that the prices of both goods and services had increased and people were finding it difficult to survive.
“We cannot buy foodstuffs in retail due to its high price. The worst hit are the ingredients for soup and stew. People are resorting to alternatives to meet up,” she said.
A civil servant, Nicholas Nwatu, wondered how the people would cope with economic hardship as their salary could not cope with the challenges.
He called for adequate silos for storage of foodstuffs during harvest, saying the items should be released to the markets during planting, fasting and other activities that affect food delivery.